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Tomba's story is just one example of an African resisting enslavement. He was the chief of a group of villages in Sierra Leone, and was opposed the slave trade in his area, so he became a target for the English traders. They enslaved him, and sold him to a Bristol ship. Tomba refused to submit.  He refused to show himself off to potential buyers, and even chained below decks, he planned a revolt. Too valuable to punish with death, Tomba was whipped and kept shackled, whilst others were cruelly killed to deter further rebellion. He was sold at Kingstown in Jamaica, with 189 others, and disappears from the records.  Perhaps he continued his resistance on whatever plantation he went to.  

From the moment of capture and the journey across the Atlantic Ocean, to the plantations, enslaved Africans rebelled against their enslavement. This rebellion and resistance took many forms. It was both immediate and continuous; it could be individual or collective, spontaneous or planned, passive or active.  Whatever form it took, it was a response to the economic, physical and psychological subordination and humiliation of enslavement.  

The imagery used by the Abolition movement showed the enslaved Africans as passive figures, asking for help from their white brothers.  This was not the case: the enslaved Africans were active in their resistance to enslavement and slavery.  They helped to make slavery an uneconomic system of production, and to turn public opinion against the trade in human beings.

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